The Campus Project and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
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During the festivities preceding, during and following the opening of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the media responded with an enthusiasm and fascination that it usually reserves for a U.S. military strike against some third world country. Newspapers great and small, the wire services, television, radio, magazine pundits, ministers in their pulpits, truckloads of Washington dignitaries and even the dynamic duo of Clinton and Gore, all joined in the opening-day excitement.
A media injection of Holocaust revisionism was in the minds and hearts of the people. Almost every major story and event related to the festivities included references to revisionism, expressed alarm that its influence is growing, and implied and sometimes stated that revisionism is a primary reason why the Museum is needed so badly and why it was necessary to give it such a huge, uncritical welcome.
The Campus Project and yours truly were referred to frequently, not usually with affection. It looks like my article, "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate," which we published as a full-page advertisement in 16 university and college newspapers last season, has been a disaster for the Holocaust Lobby. I think what shook the Lobby so badly about the ad is that it was read by as many as 250,000 of our best students and most respected scholars, and was convincing in its message: that there really is a "controversy," and there really is a comprehensive effort being made to squash all discussion of it.
The New York Times (30 April 93).
Michiko Kakutani is perhaps the most influential book reviewer for the Times. To honor the opening of the USHMM, addressing the issue of "Fairness," Kakutani writes that revisionists, "Acting as though their lies and assertions were simply another point of view, they petition for equal time under the guise of promoting free inquiry." She then proceeds to discuss a group with the absurd name "Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust," publication of our ad at various universities, and Deborah Lipstadt's reaction to it all.
It's remarkable to be able to see how wrong and wrong-headed such an influential critic can be and how much confidence she can feel in writing on a subject and persons she knows so little about. I am going to have to contact Ms. Cacatani personally.
DENYING THE HOLOCAUST: The growing Assault on Truth and Memory by Deborah Lipstadt.
I received my copy of this book only a couple days ago, so haven't had a lot of time to put into it. Professor Lipstadt worked on it six or seven years, so I hope she's got it right. She's been nice enough to devote a 25-page chapter to me and the Campus Project. She's written thousands of words here condemning my article "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate," has included 128 reference and source notes on this chapter alone, but found it impossible to reproduce the text of the article she fulminates against so aggressively. How can Lipstadt's readers judge the article for themselves? How can they judge how Lipstadt judges the article? They can't. They have to take Lipstadt's word for it that the article contains factual errors and is "anti-Semitic."
Who would want it any other way? An honest historian, maybe?
It also didn't occur to Lipstadt to interview the subject of her accusations before she committed herself to a final draft of this screed. Pride goeth before a fall. Actually, I happen to know that she did consider interviewing me. Back in 1988 I was interviewed over several days in my office at Hollywood and Vine by a young Jewish writer from Brown University named James Bandler. He was trying to interview Lipstadt at the same time. He did speak with her. I think he knocked at her door one day. He said he passed the word from me to her that I was perfectly willing to be interviewed. Lipstadt suggested to James that she was going to get in touch with me, but it didn't happen. Why? It's against her campaign philosophy.
"We cannot debate them [revisionists] for two reasons, one strategic and the other tactical. As we have repeatedly seen, the deniers long to be considered the 'other' side. Engaging them in discussion makes them exactly that. Second, they are contemptuous of the very tools that shape any honest debate: truth and reason." (p. 221)
Well, she's half right.
"Erasing the Holocaust," The New York Times Book Review (11 July).
This is a front-page review by Walter Reich, psychiatrist and senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. Reich also addresses the publication in English of Pierre Vidal-Naquet's Assassins of Memory. Vidal-Naquet is Robert Faurisson's old nemesis in France. Dr. Reich is alarmed by the possibility that the influence of revisionism is being underestimated. He notes the results of the Roper poll, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, which suggests that 20-22 percent of Americans think it "possible" that the "Holocaust never happened," and that another 10 percent can imagine that it might be possible that it didn't.
"...it seems unlikely that as many as a fifth of all Americans would have doubts that the Holocaust ever happened, were it not for the strenuous efforts during the last half century, and especially during the last 15 years, of the Holocaust deniers, who have grown ever more successful in having their arguments presented—and heard with receptivity and respect—in high school classrooms, on college campuses and on television talk shows."
That is, it's not necessary for us deniers (okay, I'll use their word) to be chatted up by the true believers. We have to keep putting our stuff out there. We're not trying to convert the religious. We're looking for young men and women who have not yet ossified intellectually, who still possess the remnants of open minds. Americans have got enough good sense that even after half a century of holocaust propaganda, half a century of complete control of the story in the media and on campus, millions — and even TENS of millions of our neighbors and fellow citizens (22 - 33 percent of the population of some 250 millions) suspect something is wrong with the holocaust story, and in all likelihood that something is wrong with the way the people who drive the story drive it.
A couple years ago, while the press still had some interest in the upcoming judicial murder of John ("Ivan the Terrible") Demjanjuk in Israel, there was a report in the papers from a "survivor" of "Ivan's" depredations about how "Ivan" would use a hand drill to ream out the bums of camp internees who did not behave properly. In full view of hundreds, maybe thousands of other internees. The story was reported as a straight news piece. Not an inkling of a horse laugh anywhere.
It doesn't occur to the shrinks, with all their sophisticated command of shrink language, to cast their professional gaze on the crazies who are so neurotically obsessed with gassing chambers and their sado-masochistic fantasies. The shrinks invariably take those guys at face value and "analyze" those of us who question them. In shrink jargon, it's what's called "denial."
With Dr. Reich we have a professional shrink mouthpiece for the old progressive (Stalinist), antifascist methodology so popular among intellectuals: never debate your opponent, always slander him, and always misrepresent what he says and the meaning of what he says. Will Dr. Reich change his ways? Why should he? He has a chance to be a hero. All he has to do is follow the lead of the Lipstadts, stay the course and go down with the ship.
The Daily Texan (9 July).
|The Daily Texan|
Page 6, Friday, July 9, 1993
Book blasts Holocaust ad
Professor Lipstadt was instrumental in suppressing an ad about the "human soap" hoax that I wanted to run in the Texan last spring. The text of the ad was a somewhat edited version of an article originally written by Mark Weber and published in the Journal of Historical Review. Texas Professor David Cox, a member of the Texas Student Publications Board of Operating Trustees who consistently voted against running CODOH's ads, is unhappy about Lipstadt's book. He charges that SHE HAS THE FACTS WRONG! and that the book "is not good scholarship or journalism." What sweet irony. A professor who consistently works to suppress revisionist writings on the advice of historians like Lipstadt gets a taste of his own medicine — bad scholarship, bad journalism, and nothing he can do about it. Bravo!
Open wide, Dr. Cox. There's some strong medicine coming your way!
The cover of Lipstadt's book reveals how preoccupied she is with the Campus Project. The cover is made up of a collage of 13 newspaper headlines — fully eight of which address the Campus Project and the text of our "Holocaust Controversy" ad. In the center of her cover you will see the old headline I used for the ad the first time I ran it back in the spring of 1991 at in the Daily Northwestern: "THE HOLOCAUST STORY: How Much is False? The Case for Open Debate."
I spent the summer and early fall rewriting the text, running it by others for their input, and when the ad ran next, in the Michigan Daily, it was in almost every respect a new text. It was retitled to read: "THE HOLOCAUST CONTROVERSY: The Case for Open Debate."
Why did Lipstadt choose to use the earlier headline for the cover of her book, when the earlier one ran in one paper, and ignore the rewritten headline that ran in the succeeding 15 papers? Because with the word "False" she can pretend to her readers that I am making a statement so outrageous that it is not worthy of discussion? Because the word "Controversy" suggests that there is something about the Holocaust story that is indeed controversial, and her position is that there is no controversy?
Because the final paragraphs in the second version of the text lay out for all to see how the Lipstadts and the rest of that gang employ the old Stalinist smear techniques to suppress debate? They describe exactly what Lipstadt does with her new book. The idea of fairness never even enters her mind. She doesn't understand the American concept of being a square shooter, that there is something to the game other than winning, and that it's that something other that is one of the characteristics that distinguishes vulgarity from decency in human personality.
Denying the Holocaust is the only book published to date by an accredited historian addressing holocaust revisionism and revisionists for a popular audience. There is, simply, nothing to compare with it. This is the one that academics, their students, the print press and electronic media will all use to support their received opinions about the worthlessness of revisionist investigations, and the moral baseness of those who carry them out. I feel she has sat on this egg patiently for years and now she's hatched her book. Lipstadt loves her book like every book. She loves her book like every hen loves her chick. She's certain it's going to fly. I don't think it will.
In her preface Lipstadt notes:
"When I first began studying Holocaust denial, people would stare at me strangely. Incredulous, they would ask, 'You take these guys seriously? ... Why are you wasting your time on those kooks?'
"The situation has changed dramatically. Regrettably, I no longer have to convince others of the relevance of this work. In fact, those who once questioned my choice of a topic now ask when the book will be available."
She confesses that her debating instinct was teased by revisionism: "I had constantly to avoid being inadvertently sucked into a debate that is no debate and an argument that is no argument." This is all in her preface, before she really gets started! But she's so unconscious that she just flies straight ahead like some big flapping ostrich opening up the debate about the argument that she wants to believe is no argument.
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Bradley R. Smith|
|Title:||The Campus Project and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum|
|Sources:||Smith's Report, no. 15 + 16, Summer 1993, pp. 15-21|
|First posted on CODOH:||Sept. 1, 2015, 7:45 a.m.|